How To Strike Up a Conversation With a Complete Stranger (or many) at a Conference (or anywhere else)

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secretrecipeclub-orphanedblMeeting people at conferences is hard.

If you are like me, it is very easy to talk yourself out of introducing yourself to a complete stranger wandering around a conference.

Yet, you are there to network. The people around you are there to network.

We are all human. We crave connection.

Meeting people at exhibit hall booths doesn’t count. There is a clear excuse to engage them.But, engaging folks wandering around… that seems to be especially difficult.

Yet, there is a simple tool available at our disposal, a super easy ice breaker that makes it easy.

I made this discovery by accident. You see, I am attending a conference over the next few days (Authority Intensive 2014) and I really want to get the most out of it. I know that will require meeting lots of new people and, well… Networking.

Step One for me was committing my goals to paper. In fact, I posted it in a private group on Google Plus for other conference attendees to see.

One of my goals was simple. I wanted to introduce myself to and meet 3 new strangers this evening, and than another 20 over the course of two days. This doesn’t count people who I have a clear reason to meet like Speakers, or Seth Godin, a man who inspires me daily. I want to meet folks just like myself. Folks I can learn from and I can share my expertise with.

Tonight was hard. I found one easy target, but numbers two and three were more difficult. Most people were already in groups of 2 or 3 people. It seems rude to interrupt.

So, I just went over to someone and said, “Hi, I am David Melamed. I promised myself I would introduce myself to three strangers tonight. You’re number two. So, whats your name? What do you do?

It worked perfectly both times I used it. It turns out, the thing we both have in common is an interest in getting the most out of the conference, and meeting interesting people. This opener makes me vulnerable and lets me genuinely connect with the other person around a shared interest.

More importantly, if they are also shy, like I am sometimes, they can really relate to this message and instantly connect with you.

It’s hard to be vulnerable, but It’s easy to connect with someone who is vulnerable.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this tip, it could work for dating too-better than a pickup line.

  2. Folake Adedamola says:

    Nice approach; has the ability to make people feel important, hence open up to you more easily.Thanks for sharing

  3. Marianna Elizabeth Beavis says:

    Striking up a conversation at a conference isn’t so much my thing, but as you said, it’s very relevant to everywhere else. I’m one of those people who is quite quiet until they get to know someone, but this doesn’t really fit with the kind of life and job I want to have, so I’ve been working to make myself interact with people more often and break the ice as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a hit, and sometimes a miss, but more than often I find that the person I approach has been wanting to start a conversation with someone as well and the rest is history. It’s why I like staying in hostels so much when I travel, because I put myself in a position where the only option is to communicate with others or be the loner in the dorm room, and I always end up being better off and coming away with friends. I can’t say that I’ve ever done what you did and made a goal like that. I still find the idea kind of daunting, so congratulations on pushing yourself to do that, even if you weren’t nervous about it.

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